The Naturist Talks: Andy from the USA

The Naturist Talks: Andy from the USA

As you may have read in the very first post of this blog, one of the main reasons why we started this project is to show the world that naturists are not some strange dark commune but that actually everyone could be one… Or could enjoy being one if they took the first step.

 

Our main example of “everyone” is of course ourselves, we write posts about naturism in general but also about our own experiences. But some of you might be thinking “Yes sure, those two are probably just the strange kids in the block…” (nah, we know you’re not thinking that about us, but we’re trying to write an introduction here). So we decided to let other naturists have a word as well.

 

So please sit back and get inspired!

 

Meanwhile we already published a couple of interviews, you can find them in the The Naturist Talks section.
Our guest for today is Andy, 64 years young and living in California, USA.

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Hello Andy, tell us something about yourself
Hi. I’m pleased to join nudists from around the world who have already added their voices (and sometimes faces) to this series of interviews.

 

I live in San Francisco. I came here from New York City in the mid-1980s to visit a friend for one week. He met me at the airport and drove me directly to a clothing optional beach with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. More than 30 years later, I’m still here. I met my husband 20 years ago at a house party. One of the first things he asked me, as part of a party game, was, “If you were carrying a sign, what would it say?” I replied, “It would say, ‘I’d rather be naked.’” So now, when he occasionally objects to my decision to be nude in certain situations, I can remind him that he knew about this even before our first date. He had been to nude beaches before we met, but during our relationship he has become much more of a nudist. We travel frequently, and he has even been the one to suggest certain nude destinations and experiences, such as visiting Cap d’Agde in France and going on nude cruises with Bare Necessities Tour and Travel.

 

How and at what age did you become a naturist?
I really believe that my love of nudity is a core part of who I am. There are childhood photos of me with my siblings, in which they are wearing pajamas or swimsuits and I am naked. No one else in my family is a nudist, but when I was about 7 and 8 years old my father used to take me to swim nude at the YMCA. I loved everything about that, from the sensation of water moving over my entire body, to the sense of community and normalcy among all those naked men. I wish I had asked my dad what those nude swims meant to him, and why he always brought me but never my brother (probably only because my brother was older and was busy other interests).

 

I began sleeping nude in my early teens, and was usually nude behind the closed door of my bedroom. I was very secretive about it, although now I’m not sure why. I was a teenager during the 1960s and early ‘70s, the original hippie era and the early days of nudity in mainstream films. I was fascinated by the photos of people naked in the mud at Woodstock and dreamed of participating in something so joyous and liberating.

 

Immediately after graduating from high school I began going to clothing optional beaches and modeling for art classes, both of which I still do. I even performed nude scenes in a few plays. Those experiences increased my confidence and my comfort with being seen naked.
A little later, I discovered a club for gay male nudists in NYC and that was my first experience with organized social nudity. I consider myself a lifelong nudist, but I probably didn’t begin calling myself a nudist until I was well into my twenties.

 

9369076446_c5c4fecaba_bIs naturism allowed in your country and what’s the public opinion?
Nudity laws in the United States vary from state to state, and even from city to city. The majority of Americans are prudish. They equate nudity with sex, and think of nudism as something to snicker about. But many coastal states have beaches where nudity is either legal or tolerated. There are privately owned nudist resorts and campgrounds in lots of states. A small but growing number of places are beginning to recognize top-free equality.
San Francisco has some of the most liberal nudity laws in the country, but, even here, public nudity has been very controversial. Until a few years ago, it was technically legal to be naked in the streets, so long as one’s behavior wasn’t lewd or sexual. I sometimes used to sit in a small plaza and enjoy a coffee and a newspaper naked. Now the law has changed and genitals must be covered. I am quite comfortable being totally nude, but I would feel ridiculous wearing just a sock over my cock and balls. I sincerely believe that there is nothing shameful about the human body, but when you cover only your genitals I think it sends a very different message.

 

San Francisco does still allow full nudity at specific events, such as certain annual street fairs. Lately there have been permits issued for nude protests, an outdoor body painting day, and things like that. Public opinion is mixed. There are those who say, “What about the children?” and others who say, “All the wrong people take their clothes off.”

 

And, thank goodness, there are also many who say, “What’s the big deal?” I was recently chatting about local politics with a stranger while our dogs played together in a park. She surprised me by introducing the topic of public nudity and saying how angry she still is that it was banned in this city. She is not a nudist, but she sees it as a human rights issue. That was encouraging.

 

We hate to divide people into groups, but we’ll do it anyway…
Do you consider yourself a naturist, a nudist or an occasional nudist?
I am a nudist. I’ve spent most of my life in big cities as an “at home nudist” and a “public nudist,” and nature has little to do with that. I love being naked in nature at every opportunity, but I avoid the term “naturist” because so many people confuse it with “naturalist.” I think it is important to clearly say “nude” or “naked” and not pretend that it’s about anything else.

 

Do you find it easy to make naturist friends?
People at nudist resorts tend to be very welcoming and friendly, but there is no reason why most of those friendships should reach beyond the somewhat artificial setting of the resort. Sometimes a genuine connection is formed, but just as often (in my experience) nudism is the main interest in common. That is not necessarily enough to sustain a close friendship. I would find it challenging to limit my social circle only to fellow nudists.
Luckily, some of my non-nudist friends of both sexes are completely at ease with my nudity, allowing me to be my naked self while socializing among people with whom I share a real bond. That kind of truly clothing-optional society, where individuals are free to wear as much or as little as they wish, is my ideal. Spending time nude with my clothed friends, or in public, gives me the chance to “be the change you wish to see in the world.”

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What’s the best tip you have for beginning naturists?
One thing I hear a lot is, “I wish I could be free enough to be naked, too.” Don’t let self-consciousness hold you back in situations where nudity is actually an option (for example, if someone else there is already nude). Give yourself permission to get out of your clothes, if that’s what you want to do. It’s like jumping into cold water; after the initial shock it feels wonderful.

 

Anything else you’d like to share with our audience?
Here is my philosophy in a nutshell: To be ashamed of one’s body is to be ashamed of being human. Some bodies may be prettier than others, but that is also true of our faces and we don’t tell people to put a bag over their heads! I know people who, because of age, or weight gain, or a scar, have decided it was time to stop going nude. My own body has changed dramatically with age. I looked one way at 20, another at 40, and this is how I look in my sixties. Aging is as natural as nudity, and true body acceptance is an ongoing challenge. When I am naked among other people the only message is, “This is me.”

 

Thank you so much for your participation Andy!

 

Do you also want to tell your story and experiences in naturism? Please get in touch via the CONTACT page! As long as we have people who like to contribute, we can keep The Naturist Talks running!

6 thoughts on “The Naturist Talks: Andy from the USA

  1. An interesting contribution Andy, one that makes a lot of sense, particularly with regard to taking those opportunities to be nude in public when they’re there. If we do this more, hopefully the more that unashamed body freedom will be accepted. Nik has shared similar nudist experiences with you on another site. Hi.

    We have similar experiences when we’re with a mix of close friends sometimes, nudists and textile. Most good friends know we’re nudists and that we’re likely to be naked at home if they call round unannounced and that we prefer to remain nude, its easy to message ahead if they’re the more sensitive types. We quite often socialise in our home and those of good nudist friends when everyone is naked, we do this quite often in winter when there are fewer opportunities to socialise naked outside and we want some nude time with friends. Sometimes we do similar with a mix of nudist and textile friends, its great to be accepted as nudists in a clothing-optional environment like that. But in these cases we’re doing it with textiles who we were friends with first, they’ve since learned that we’re nudists, we remain friends and accept each other in the ways that we all prefer to socialise in, naked or clothed.

    We’ve enjoyed riding in a number of world naked bike rides, another clothing optional situation where our nudity has been accepted (welcomed even) by large numbers of onlookers. We’ve felt completely relaxed while nude in public on them, we wish it was normal behavior whenever we chose, rather than on a few specific occasions.

    We’ll keep being publicly nude when we can, because that is how we want to live. We hope more and more people do so too after reading inspiring blogs like this.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave feedback. It felt strange to send my heartfelt beliefs and out into the world and receive silence in reply. Even hearing from those who disagree with my opinions would be better than nothing, but getting support from like-minded people is gratifying.

      I loved reading that, like me, you are able to socialize nude with your friends who prefer to be clothed. I think that is a key to normalizing nudity.

      Although I didn’t mention it in the interview, I have participated in quite a few World Naked Bike Ride events in San Francisco and in the U.K. I agree with you; the appreciative response from smiling onlookers is wonderful. But, yes, the world would be a mentally and physically healthier place if nudity were unremarkable in any place and at any time!

      Thank you again for your comments. I hope our paths will cross again.

    2. Yes! I’ve attended the World Naked Bike Ride in Portland the past three years and love how comfortable social nudity is in that context and how happy and joyful everyone is: riders and on-lookers, alike!

  2. Love this post, Andy! Very well written. And I agree with you that an ideal environment is a clothing optional environment where everyone present feels comfortable being however they like to be: fully clothed, fully nude, or somewhere in between! I’ve hosted a few clothing optional potlucks at the house and this has always been my stance and my invitation. Like you, I have friends who join me in shared nudity and friends who don’t and I value being able to be myself in both situations! I also like what you said about the somewhat artificial setting of nudist resorts and how oftentimes the friendships there do not share enough commonalities to warrant pursuing outside of the resort. I hadn’t ever thought about that before, but totally agree! Thanks for sharing your story.

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